Festival recreates landing of explorer Cabrillo.

Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo discovered San Diego Bay for Spain in 1542.
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo discovered San Diego Bay for Spain in 1542.

San Diego’s 51st Annual Cabrillo Festival was held today. Taking place at Ballast Point near the south end of Naval Base Point Loma, the event allowed the public to view a reenactment of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo’s entrance into San Diego Bay in 1542. Cabrillo, born in Portugal, commanded his voyage of discovery on behalf of Spain, sailing the galleon San Salvador up the west coast of America.

In addition to the colorful reenactment, the festival included a short ceremony, speeches, costumes, National Park exhibits, food and dance provided by various cultural groups, and just a lot of interesting local history. I took some photographs. Here they are!

Visitors to the 51st Annual Cabrillo Festival await recreation of historic event.
Visitors to the 51st Annual Cabrillo Festival await reenactment of historic event.
People gather above the small beach at Ballast Point on Naval Base Point Loma.
People gather above the small beach at Ballast Point on Naval Base Point Loma.
As people await a rowboat full of reenactors, event commentary is provided.
As people await a rowboat full of reenactors, event commentary is provided.

A short walk out to a point beside the bay provided a view of the San Diego Maritime Museum’s tall ship Californian, which portrayed Cabrillo’s galleon San Salvador.

Tall ship Californian, in the distance, serves as Cabrillo's galleon San Salvador.
Tall ship Californian, in the distance, serves during event as Cabrillo’s galleon San Salvador.

I took pictures of two signs by the above fenced archeological site…

Sign at Ballast Point tells about archeological site of old Spanish whaling station.
Sign at Ballast Point tells about archeological site of old Spanish whaling station.
Stones and tiles are remains of an old tryworks oven where whale oil was boiled.
Stones and tiles are remains of an old tryworks oven where whale oil was boiled.

I headed back to the gathered crowd to await the main event…

Here comes the row boat containing explorer Cabrillo, a priest and crew members.
Here comes the rowboat containing explorer Cabrillo, a priest and crew members.
People watching the historical recreation are snapping photos like crazy now.
People watching this recreation of history are snapping photos like crazy.
Cabrillo leaps from the galleon's small boat onto the shore!
Cabrillo leaps from the galleon’s small boat onto the shore!
Cabrillo in armor raises his sword, while priest with cross stands behind him.
Cabrillo in armor raises his sword, while priest with cross stands behind him.
Cabrillo now plants a Spanish Cross of Burgundy flag on soil of New World.
Cabrillo now plants a Spanish Cross of Burgundy flag on soil of New World.
A proclamation is read on behalf of Spain by Portuguese explorer Cabrillo.
A proclamation is read on behalf of Spain by Portuguese explorer Cabrillo.
Actors depart the narrow beach and head up to join the onlookers.
Actors depart the narrow beach and head up to join the onlookers.
Kids pose with a modern day version of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo.
Kids pose with a modern day version of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo.
Many folks in costume were in the big crowd!
Many folks in costume were in the big crowd!
Navy honor guard prepares for anthems of four nations and a moment of silence.
Navy honor guard prepares for anthems of four nations and a moment of silence.
Making an adjustment to costume from the Old World centuries ago.
Making an adjustment to costume from the Old World centuries ago.
Anthems were played for Spain, Portugal, Mexico and the United States.
Anthems were played for Spain, Portugal, Mexico and the United States.

In addition to the four national anthems, a moment of silence honored the Native American Kumeyaay, who lived in this area long before Europeans arrived. Cabrillo spent a few days anchored in today’s San Diego Bay, a place he originally named San Miguel. He took on fresh water and traded with the native Kumeyaay people that he met.

People watch with interest during the short ceremony that included several speeches.
People watch with interest during the short ceremony that included several speeches.
Several beauty queens appear on stage and smile for everyone.
Several beauty queens appear on stage and smile for everyone.
Exhibits included various parts of Spanish conquistador armor.
Exhibits included various parts of Spanish conquistador armor.
Small boy tries on a surprisingly heavy steel helmet.
Small boy tries on a surprisingly heavy steel helmet.
Chainmail was being twisted with an apparatus at the end of this table.
Chainmail was being twisted with an apparatus at the end of this table.
Biscuits, nuts and an astrolabe are typical items carried on a Spanish galleon.
Biscuits, nuts and an astrolabe are typical items carried on a Spanish galleon.
Scouts demonstrate rope making with an interesting machine.
Scouts demonstrate rope making with an interesting machine.
Friendly lady was making woolen caps to be worn under those heavy steel helmets!
Friendly lady was making woolen caps to be worn under those heavy steel helmets!

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More tall ships and fun at 2014 Festival of Sail!

Man and boy walk along Embarcadero at San Diego's 2014 Festival of Sail.
Man and boy walk along Embarcadero at San Diego’s 2014 Festival of Sail.

Here’s my third blog post concerning my visit on Sunday to the Labor Day weekend 2014 Festival of Sail on San Diego’s Embarcadero. My first post concerned the brig Pilgrim; my second contained pics of the other beautiful tall ships at the first temporary floating dock just north of the San Diego Maritime Museum. Feel free to click around Cool San Diego Sights and check them out.

I pick up now where I left off last time–heading from the first floating dock to the second.

The Tole Mour takes students out to the Channel Islands as a school ship.
The Tole Mour takes students out to the Channel Islands as a school ship.
The large topsail schooner is based out of Long Beach.
The large topsail schooner is based out of Long Beach.
Tole Mour was originally a medical vessel serving the remote Marshall Islands.
Tole Mour was originally a medical vessel serving the remote Marshall Islands.
A couple young ladies on board were playing musical instruments for visitors.
A couple of young ladies on board were playing musical instruments for visitors.
30 to 35 students bunk down here during their educational expeditions.
30 to 35 students bunk down here during their educational expeditions.

I wish I were a kid again! I remember a similar trip on a smaller vessel I took as a high school student, cruising along Alaska’s Inside Passage.  I think our bunks were even narrower!  But that’s a different story…

Coming up from below. Flags flap in the sunshine.
Coming up from below. Flags flap in the sunshine.
Here's the cabin where kids gather to eat and learn about the sea.
Here’s the cabin where kids gather to eat and learn about the sea.
A small library and a chart depicting different marine life.
A small library and a chart depicting different marine life.
The very cool Tole Mour was launched in 1987.
The very cool Tole Mour was launched in 1987.
Two generations, side by side, man the helm topside.
Two generations, side by side, man the helm topside.
The Irving Johnson, a brigantine based in San Pedro, the port of Los Angeles.
Stern of the Irving Johnson, a brigantine based in San Pedro, the port of Los Angeles.
Folks at the Festival of Sail step onto the visiting tall ship.
Folks at the Festival of Sail step onto the visiting tall ship.
The bow faces distant Point Loma on our big, calm San Diego Bay.
The bow faces distant Point Loma on our lovely, calm San Diego Bay.
Sally has been a crew member from almost the beginning--22 years!
Sally has been a Los Angeles Maritime Institute crew member from  the beginning–22 years!

I hope my information here is correct. I didn’t take notes. Sally just smiled as she talked about her many memories as a volunteer at the Los Angeles Maritime Institute. She started 22 years ago as a lowly volunteer sweeper. She watched the two nearly identical ships–the Irving Johnson and Exy Johnson–being built simultaneously side-by-side in a parking lot! She told me she has more than a million stories to tell! I believe her!

The ship's twin--the Exy Johnson--is tied up on the opposite side of the dock.
The ship’s twin–the Exy Johnson–is tied up on the opposite side of the dock.
One more tall ship waits to be visited at this floating dock...
One more beautiful tall ship waits to be visited at this floating dock…
It's the Bill of Rights, a gaff-rigged schooner from Chula Vista, in our south bay!
It’s the Bill of Rights, a gaff-rigged schooner from Chula Vista, in our south bay!
Dogs enjoyed visiting the cool ships, too!
Dogs enjoyed visiting the cool ships, too!
A big old ship's wheel gives me a hankering for adventure on the high seas.
A big old ship’s wheel gives me a hankering for adventure on the high seas.
Some festival visitors went on harbor cruises, or participated in cannon battles on the bay!
Some festival visitors went on harbor cruises, or participated in cannon battles on the bay!
This is the hub of the San Diego Maritime Museum--the Berkeley steam ferryboat.
This is the hub of the San Diego Maritime Museum–the Berkeley steam ferryboat.

I haven’t really covered the many ships of the San Diego Maritime Museum in my blog, apart from some dockside pictures of the Star of India, the build site of the galleon San Salvador, and a couple pics of the Pilot out on the bay. I suppose I’ll have to put the many cool ships in the museum’s collection on my list!

Inside the Berkeley a family watches a hobbyist create a tiny ship model.
Inside the Berkeley a family watches a hobbyist create a tiny ship model.
People walk out on the Dolphin, the world's deepest diving submarine.
People walk out on the Dolphin, the world’s deepest diving submarine.
Stepping out onto a narrow dock at the side of the Berkeley and gazing north.
Stepping out onto a narrow dock on the north side of the Berkeley and gazing across the water.
The small Patricia Belle, from Mexico, is tied up next to the steam yacht Medea.
The graceful Patricia Belle, from Mexico, is tied up next to the steam yacht Medea.
Passing under a lifeboat, heading to the dock at rear of the Berkeley.
Passing under a lifeboat, heading to the large dock jutting from the rear of the Berkeley.
Turning around. A huge collection of ships that you could visit all day!
Turning around. A huge collection of ships that you could tour all day!

I’m standing near the stern of America, a modern replica of the ship that won the original America’s Cup. The boats docked side-by-side along the Berkeley are, left to right, the Jada, Patricia Belle and Medea.

America's Cup boats and San Diego's America and the Californian are back here!
Two America’s Cup boats and tall ships America and Californian are based back here!

San Diegans often see the sleek Stars and Stripes and the Abracadabra out racing on the big bay. The two participated in somewhat more recent America’s Cup competitions. I have no photos here, but I should in the future! My camera’s memory card was almost full!

The Exy Johnson sails out to be followed by the Californian, in the foreground.
The Exy Johnson sails out to be followed by the Californian, in the foreground.
Pic taken moments after the mainland battery fired a cannon!
Pic taken moments after the mainland battery fired a cannon!

The gun produced a huge blinding flash! I couldn’t capture it, because my fingers were firmly pressed into my ears!

While cannon is cleaned, the Exy Johnson and Californian begin a duel on the bay!
While cannon is cleaned, the Exy Johnson and Californian begin a duel on the bay!

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2014 Festival of Sail’s many beautiful tall ships!

People arrive at San Diego's 2014 Festival of Sail on the Embarcadero.
People arrive at San Diego’s 2014 Festival of Sail on the Embarcadero.

I began a description of the 2014 Festival of Sail in the previous blog post, where I showed photos of the brig Pilgrim docked on San Diego’s Embarcadero. The big Labor Day weekend event features 21 different vessels, so now I’ll provide a quick tour of the other beautiful tall ships that can be seen on sparkling San Diego Bay! I have so many pics that I’ve broken them up into two separate parts.

The sails of the historic Star of India rise beyond a kettle corn sign!
The sails of the historic Star of India rise beyond a kettle corn sign!
The many ships of the San Diego Maritime Museum took part, including HMS Surprise.
The many ships of the San Diego Maritime Museum took part, including HMS Surprise.

You might remember having seen HMS Surprise in the Academy Award winning movie Master and Commander, starring Russell Crowe!

One of several pirates walking about the annual event, thrilling lots of kids.
One of several pirates walking about the annual event, thrilling lots of kids.
Three temporary floating docks are surrounded by visiting tall ships.
Three temporary floating docks are surrounded by visiting tall ships.

The nearest ship is the Pilgrim, a replica of the historic ship described by Richard Henry Dana in Two Years Before the Mast.

Gaff-rigged schooner Spirit of Dana Point was tied up next to the Pilgrim.
Gaff-rigged schooner Spirit of Dana Point was tied up next to the Pilgrim.
Early morning festival visitors check out the Spirit of Dana Point.
Early morning festival visitors check out the Spirit of Dana Point.
One of several photographers looking for cool shots on the beautiful ships.
One of several photographers looking for cool shots on the beautiful ships.
This large bell was donated by famous actor John Wayne from his own ranch!
This large bell was donated by famous actor John Wayne from his own ranch!

That is one loud bell!

Ship's compass is another typical nautical sight.
Ship’s compass is another typical nautical sight.
Looking across the picturesque deck of the Spirit of Dana Point.
Looking across the picturesque deck of the Spirit of Dana Point.
Golden female figurehead gazes out across San Diego Bay.
Golden female figurehead gazes out across San Diego Bay.
Three-masted schooner American Pride awaits across the dock.
Three-masted schooner American Pride awaits across the dock.
American Pride and paddleboarder seen from bayside walkway.
American Pride and paddleboarder seen from bayside walkway.
View of American Pride from Curlew.
View of American Pride’s elegant stern from nearby Curlew.
This photographer aims at a cannon!
Photographer on American Pride takes aim at a cannon!
American Pride, built in 1941, calls Long Beach home.
American Pride, built in 1941, calls Long Beach home.
People prepare to board the small staysail schooner Curlew
People prepare to board the small staysail schooner Curlew
This sailing ship won many East Coast races in the 1920's and 1930's.
This sailing ship won many East Coast races in the 1920’s and 1930’s.
Visitors check out the small schooner Curlew.
Visitors check out the beautiful sailing vessel.
Curlew served as a training ship and submarine patrol boat in World War II.
Curlew served as a training ship and submarine patrol boat in World War II.
Kayakers were out cruising among the assembled tall ships.
Kayakers were out cruising among the assembled tall ships.
The Tole Mour awaits at the second floating dock, my next stop!
The Tole Mour awaits at the second floating dock, my next stop!

Stay tuned! There’s more to come!

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Richard Henry Dana’s brig Pilgrim in San Diego!

Replica of Richard Henry Dana's brig Pilgrim at the 2014 Festival of Sail!
Replica of Richard Henry Dana’s brig Pilgrim at the 2014 Festival of Sail!

One of the world’s most famous sailing ships has returned to San Diego after 180 years!

Well–ahem–actually, a replica of the Pilgrim, the ship that became immortal in Richard Henry Dana’s classic book Two Years Before the Mast, sailed into San Diego Bay a few days ago. It’s one of many beautiful tall ships participating in this Labor Day weekend’s 2014 Festival of Sail.

This morning I got a bunch of pics of the festival and all the amazing ships along the Embarcadero. But I decided to start off by writing a blog post about the Pilgrim, which has a warm spot in my heart.

Every so often I reread Two Years Before the Mast, when I get a hankering to revisit the true, very interesting and adventurous tale written by Dana about his difficult voyage around Cape Horn and along the mostly uninhabited California coast as a common sailor. For some reason I feel a strange kinship with the author. Whenever I enjoy the book, I always try to envision what his hardy cattle hide trading ship looked like.

Today’s replica of the brig Pilgrim began as a three-masted schooner built in 1945 in Denmark; it was then converted to a brig in 1975 in Portugal. Now it’s a floating classroom with the Ocean Institute in Dana Point, California. The ship was used in Amistad, a movie directed by Steven Spielberg. While no one knows precisely how the original Pilgrim appeared, it quite likely resembled the ship I visited this morning.

The Pilgrim became immortalized in the classic book Two Years Before the Mast.
The Pilgrim became immortalized in the classic book Two Years Before the Mast.
Walking down to the Pilgrim, docked among many cool sailing ships.
Walking down to the Pilgrim, docked among many cool sailing ships.
Wooden figurehead of the Pilgrim is a representation of Richard Henry Dana Jr.
Wooden figurehead of the Pilgrim is a representation of Richard Henry Dana Jr.

I assume the figurehead of Dana holds a scroll because he went on to become a Harvard-educated lawyer. He advocated for groundbreaking laws which protected the common sailor and made life at sea for many a bit less dangerous and unfair.

San Diego Festival of Sail includes this historic, very interesting tall ship.
San Diego Festival of Sail includes this historic, very interesting tall ship.

Sadly, the gentleman welcoming visitors on board (not the guy pictured) apparently had never read Two Years Before the Mast. He didn’t seem to know anything about Dana’s stay in San Diego, cleaning and curing cattle hides just inside the bay at Point Loma, riding with his friend inland to the old Mission, and having memorable good times in Old Town when San Diego was in its infancy.

In the shade of a canvas sail, people from the Ocean Institute and visitors chat.
In the shade of a canvas sail, people from the Ocean Institute and visitors chat.
Sign stresses the critical importance of correct line handling.
Sign stresses the critical importance of correct line handling.
Gazing toward the bow past ship's bell and American flag.
Gazing toward the bow past ship’s bell and American flag.
The Pilgrim needed a crew of twelve to fourteen seamen to man her.
The Pilgrim needed a crew of twelve to fourteen seamen to man her.
I was one of the first aboard, before the big Labor Day weekend crowd arrived!
I was one of the first aboard, before the big Labor Day weekend crowd arrived!
That fuzzy stuff is called baggywrinkle!
That fuzzy stuff is called baggywrinkle!
Beyond ship's wheel, several tall ships are docked at Maritime Museum.
Beyond the ship’s wheel, several tall ships are docked at the San Diego Maritime Museum.
Advice from the cook--eat good hearty salt beef!
Advice from the cook–eat good hearty salt beef!

I like the passages in Two Years Before the Mast where Dana describes his difficult adjustment to the seafaring life.

The above sign includes his reaction after following the cook’s advice: “I got a huge piece of strong, cold salt beef from the cook and kept gnawing upon it until twelve o’clock. When we went on deck, I felt somewhat like a man, and could begin to learn my sea duty with considerable spirit.”

Pilgrim crew member works at a knot during San Diego's tall ship festival.
Pilgrim crew member works at a knot during San Diego’s tall ship festival.

The West Coast was a mostly desolate, seldom-visited frontier in those days long ago. It was a place of danger, difficult undertakings and true discovery. Sometimes during my easy walks around and about San Diego, I try to imagine the glorious horizons and raw natural beauty unaltered by modern development. It’s a place in time that now exists only in memory. And in great books.

Stern of the brig Pilgrim at the 2014 Festival of Sail.
Stern of the brig Pilgrim at the 2014 Festival of Sail.

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Working high in the rigging of Star of India.

Clinging to the end of Star of India's bowsprit.
Clinging to the end of Star of India’s bowsprit.

Dedicated members of San Diego’s Maritime Museum were hard at work yesterday, working in the Star of India’s rigging like busy spiders on a web.

The rigging of the historic three-masted bark is undergoing an overhaul, a project that is expected to take a full year. That’s according to the person selling tickets. The large yards of the foremast have already been removed and are lying on the sidewalk awaiting inspection and a new coat of paint. I was told the ship’s trees (platforms on the masts) are infested with termites. They’ll have to be repaired. To maintain the 150 year old Star of India, the oldest active sailing ship in the world, requires a lot of work!

People tangled in picturesque ship's rigging.
People tangled in picturesque ship’s rigging.
Like highwire artists on the slender ropes.
Like highwire artists on the slender ropes.
Looks like a lot of hard work.
Looks like a lot of hard work.
Yards from foremast wait on sidewalk to be painted.
Yards from foremast wait on sidewalk to be painted.
Maritime Museum members at work on Star of India.
Maritime Museum members at work on Star of India.
High up in the blue San Diego sky.
High up in the blue San Diego sky.

I got a quick photo of a San Diego Maritime Museum volunteer working on the yards on an early July morning!

Volunteer works on Star of India's yards.
Volunteer works on Star of India’s yards.

Here come several more pics taken in October. The top third of the foremast has been removed!

Top portion of foremast has been removed in October of 2014.
Top portion of Star of India foremast has been removed in October of 2014.
San Diego Maritime Museum volunteers work high up on the historic Star of India.
Maritime Museum of San Diego workers high up on the foremast of the historic Star of India.
On the shrouds, in a tangle of ropes between masts.
On a shroud, in a tangle of ropes and cables between masts.

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World’s oldest active sailing ship ready to go!

ready to board the star of india for yearly sail

Today a 150 year old tall ship was spotted sailing in the wide Pacific Ocean off Point Loma, just beyond the historic lighthouse! Was it a ghost from the past?  How is it possible?

It’s possible because San Diego’s own Star of India, the oldest active sailing ship in the world, departed from the dock today for its yearly sail!

I thought about buying a ticket for the historic event, but unfortunately I’m feeling a bit under the weather. This morning I did manage to amble down to the Embarcadero to watch and take some photos of the colorful preparations that are required for the beautiful ship to get underway.

In the first pic, you can see Maritime Museum members and some passengers gathered, getting ready to board or lend a hand.

star of india gets ready to sail

The guy hanging from some ropes just finished decoupling electrical and other lines from the black wrought iron hull of the docked ship.

climbing into the rigging of the star of india

Volunteers carefully climb up into the rigging to get everything ready for the sail!

volunteers work at end of yard arm

Some hardy folks were already up on the yard arms working at the rigging. Once the Star of India is pulled out of San Diego Bay, the sails are unfurled and the tall ship is completely free to run before the wind!

volunteer disengages ramp

After a bit of work, the ramp was finally disengaged from the ship and pulled backward onto the sidewalk.

volunteers prepare to release star of india rope

One by one the ropes holding the Star of India to the Embarcadero were cast off.

tugboat ready to pull star of india to sea

Here’s one of the two tugboats, ready to tow San Diego’s pride and joy out of the harbor. The classic figurehead of the Star will soon be facing the open sea!

star of india pulls away from the dock

Pulling away from the dock… A pair of museum volunteers look on wistfully…

star of india is tugged out of san diego harbor

The lady heads out into the bay’s deep channel… Aircraft hangars at Naval Air Station North Island can be seen on the left. Point Loma stretches in the background.

Definitely very cool!

Big crowd at San Diego’s 2013 Festival of Sail!

big crowd at festival of sail

Sunday afternoon brought a gigantic crowd to San Diego’s sunny waterfront. The 2013 Festival of Sail appears to be a resounding success! This photo was taken at the annual event’s busy entrance just south of the Star of India.

A huge mass of humanity also surged along the Embarcadero in the vicinity of the sand sculpture event on the cruise ship pier, and by the USS Midway and Seaport Village. Lines were long everywhere, and street vendors and performers were raking in the money!

One often hears that America’s Finest City is a top destination for tourists on Labor Day weekend…I certainly believe it!

UPDATE!

It’s almost a year later and the 2014 Festival of Sail is a couple days away! This year I’ll actually attend, brave the huge crowds and take a bunch of pics!

Banner is up a few days before the 2014 Festival of Sail!
Banner is up on Star of India a few days before the 2014 Festival of Sail!